Marie Bochet and historic the Alain Calmat lit the Olympic cauldron. PARIS 2024

To celebrate Olympic Day on 23rd June 2024 and the centenary of the first Winter Olympics, the Torch Relay lit up Haute-Savoie. The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in 1924, so it was a fitting tribute to return 100 years later with the Torch.

Highlights included a breathtaking ascent of the Aiguille du Midi with 24 torchbearers specialising in high-altitude disciplines, and the joint golf relay, which took place at the Evian Resort Golf Club. The day ended on a high note with an exceptional collective relay, which brought together 17 former torchbearers, including Alain Calmat and Marie Bochet, who were proud to be its captains and also had the honour of lighting the cauldron at the ceremonial site on the Place du Mont-Blanc. 

The stage was eagerly awaited as it was the last Olympic day before Paris 2024. 100 years ago, in 1924, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc hosted the first Winter Olympics. Since then, the resort has always been associated with the Olympic Games, with at least one representative from Chamonix taking part in every edition of the Winter Olympics. In Haute-Savoie, in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and in the towns through which the relay passed, everyone was able to celebrate this strong Olympic heritage. 

The Torch lit up the emblematic sites of Haute-Savoie,  from its great ski resorts to its spas and lakes. It set off from the headquarters of the Haute-Savoie Regional Council and travelled from the Source of the Cachat to Parc Dollfus in Évian-les-Bains. It then visited Héry-sur-Alby, in particular the Pays d'Alby Cultural and Sports Centre, and Annemasse, passing from the Martin Luther King Centre to the Place de la Libération. 

It then climbed to the top of the Plateau des Glières, an important site in the history of the Second World War Resistance. The relay then travelled to Cluses, where the Olympic Torch was carried past the Lieutenant Charles Poncet sports hall, and then to Excenevex, where it boarded rowing boats on the shores of Lake Geneva. 

The Torch was then taken to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to return to its roots, 100 years after the first Winter Olympics. After passing through Montenvers station and the forecourt of the cable car station, it visited the site of the former speed skating rink, inaugurated in 1924,  where sporting events were organised by the French Army's École militaire de haute-montagne. The ceremonial site was set up on the Place du Mont-Blanc and hosted martial arts demonstrations. 

To celebrate the event and create unforgettable memories, a breathtaking ascent of the Olympic Torch to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi was rehearsed in total secrecy in the early hours of the morning, after being prepared behind the scenes by Paris 2024 and the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc local authorities. 24 torchbearers took part in the adventure, all of them local mountaineers or specialists in high altitude sports, Olympians and top athletes in various disciplines. 

The group included Winter Olympians, such as local legend Blaise Giezandanner (skiing), Margot Ravinel, who took part in the Youth Olympics (downhill), Cédric Amafroi-Broisat (para-skiing), Christophe Ville (ice hockey) and Jonas Devouassoux (ski-cross). Also present were Nathan Paulin (highline), Coralie Bentz (cross-country skiing), Baptiste Ellmenreich (competitive ski touring), Enora Latuillère (biathlon), Sandie Cochepain (paragliding) and Sandra Deleglise (short track skating). 

A Team Relay was organised with 17 former torchbearers. Martin Fourcade, France's most famous biathlete and a five-time Olympic champion, passed the Olympic torch to the first relay team member, former skier Carole Montillet. She was joined by Tessa Worley (skiing), Jason Lamy-Chappuis (Nordic combined), Kevin Rolland (freestyle skiing), Philippe Candeloro (ice skating), Vincent Defrasne (biathlon) and Nadine Laurent (downhill skiing). 

The Olympic Torch Relay marked a new stage full of emotions. PARIS 2024
The Olympic Torch Relay marked a new stage full of emotions. PARIS 2024

Marie Bochet, who has won eight Paralympic Winter Games titles, and Alain Calmat, a 1964 Olympic silver medallist in ice skating who lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, were the two captains of this relay. Another Team Relay was organised by the French Golf Federation at the Evian Resort Club, one of the jewels of French golf. It went from the 2nd hole to the 18th green and was started by Magali Genevray, a course superintendent who has been involved in golf for two decades. 

Local members of the French Golf Federation, took part, as well as talents such as Peggy Bouchet (the first woman to row across the Atlantic), Olympians Florence Masnada and Léo Lacroix (skiing), Émilie Mollard (speed golf) and Benjamin Cavet (freestyle skiing). Young golf hopefuls and para-golfers were also present, including Mélody Roccaz and Issa Nlareb Amang. 

Elte athletes were very well represented with Christine Janin, the first woman to climb the Everest in 1990, Olympic skiers Victor Muffat Jeandet and Clément Noël, and Paralympic skiers Thomas Clarion and Lou Braz Dagand. Mike Horn, one of the greatest adventurers of modern times, who has been pushing the boundaries of exploration for 30 years, also had the honour of carrying the Olympic torch. His unrivalled list of achievements includes being the first man to cross both the South and North Poles. 

Many torchbearers from the public with inspiring life stories also carried the Torch. These included Meije Bidault, famous for her para-skiing talents, Fanny Desplaces, a volunteer guide, Laurent Favario, who trains young firefighters, and Stéphane Loison, who has been involved in local community sport for over 30 years.